The Columns

An Anniversary Concert Celebrating 142 years of the Lee Chapel Organ

— by on October 28th, 2014

George Taylor, co-director of Taylor and Boody Organbuilders of Staunton, Virginia, will give a talk about the Lee Chapel organ and its history on Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Lee Chapel & Museum at Washington and Lee University.

Joining him will be Gregory Crowell, an internationally known organist, harpsichordist, clavichordist and conductor, who will give an organ concert. Taylor’s talk about the organ, accompanied by Crowell’s concert, is free and open to the public.

This year marks the 142nd anniversary of the original installation of the Lee Chapel organ built by Henry Erben, who is considered the father of organ building in America. It also has been 50 years since Taylor gave the dedication concert in honor of its restoration in 1964.

It was Taylor’s senior research project that resulted in the restoration of the organ as part of the 1963 renovation of the Chapel. After graduation from W&L in 1964, Taylor served a three-and-half-year apprenticeship in organ building under Rudolf von Beckerath of Germany. Taylor and Boody has produced 60 tracker-action organs over the last 35 years.

Crowell is the university organist and affiliate professor of music general education at Grand Valley State University and director of music at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Cincinnati and has studied at the North German Organ Academy, as well as at Academia del Organo (Pitoia, Italy) and Musika Hamabostaldia (San Sebastian, Spain).

Crowell has performed in numerous international festivals, including the Boston Early Music Festival and nine national conventions of the Organ Historical Society. Crowell has also published widely on subjects related to early keyboard instruments and their repertoire in such periodicals as The Diapason, The American Organist, The Tracker, among others.

The concert will feature pieces by composers George Frederic Handel, Jonathan Battishill, William Byrd, Charles Zeuner, Carl Phillipp Emmanuel Bach, J. S. Bach, Felix Mendelsshon-Bartholdy and James Woodman, as well as R.E. Lee’s favorite hymn.

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